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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rebecca Cook

The Crown's Lesley Manville insists Netflix hit is a drama and answers Judi Dench criticism

Lesley Manville has stressed that The Crown is a drama as the Netflix hit is set to return to the streaming platform with a fifth season this week.

The latest season will focus on the tumultuous early 1990s, which saw Prince Charles and Princess Diana separate.

The show has already faced public backlash from figures including Sir John Major and Tony Blair ahead of the premiere this evening.

Lesley Manville, who will make her debut playing Princess Margaret in the series, addressed the controversy during an interview with Good Morning Britain’s entertainment presenter Richard Arnold.

She said: “There’s no doubt about it, the death of our beloved Majesty has put a focus on the series. It was inevitable. It's hotly awaited.”

Lesley Manville has stepped into the role previously held by Vanessa Kirby (ITV)

Richard noted that ‘everyone has very clear opinions’ as he touched on the strongly worded criticism from Dame Judi Dench, saying: “Your mate Dame Judi has been very vocal about how she perceives The Crown.”

The Oscar-winning actress said Netflix ‘seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism’, in a letter to The Times.

Dame Judi also said there was a risk that ‘a significant number of viewers’ would take its events as historical truth.

Lesley said: “We are making a drama based on the Royal Family and the events that are so well known of that time. But it has to be stressed that it is a drama.”

Lesley Manville, who plays Princess Margaret (Keith Bernstein)

Richard went on to note that she and Dame Judi have been close friends with Imelda Staunton, who is set to play the late monarch, for decades.

Lesley said: “Because we’re such good friends, that whole thing of creating these two sisters who were so close, we didn’t really have to work on that much.”

She added of her character: “Margaret is bearing the brunt of the brutal reality that the queen’s children now are getting divorced. They are able to remarry.

“And she wasn’t even allowed to marry the person that she wanted to. I think it’s safe to say there are some fireworks.”

Lesley Manville addressed the controversy during an interview on Good Morning Britain (ITV)

Speaking about the calibre of acting talent the Netflix show has garnered, Lesley added: “It attracts such amazing actors because you get to play these wonderful characters, but it’s not like the responsibility is with you every episode.”

Lesley Manville has stepped into the role previously held by Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter for The Crown season 5, playing Princess Margaret opposite Imelda Staunton's new take on Queen Elizabeth II.

As in previous seasons the Netflix series remains very much an ensemble, with the drama split between The Queen, Dominic West's Charles, Jonathan Pryce's Prince Philip, as well as other members of the Royal household and those surrounding them.

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